Skip to content

Stenhouse scores Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors

Nov 18, 2013, 5:55 PM EDT

Ford EcoBoost 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

Performance-wise, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.‘s inaugural Sprint Cup season was a far cry from the back-to-back championship years in the Nationwide Series that preceded it. But it was still enough to earn him the 2013 Rookie of the Year title in NASCAR’s top division.

“All in all, it was a huge learning experience,” Stenhouse said in summing up his season. “[I'm] thankful we made it through, it’s behind us now. We can move on to next year, look on improving every spot at every track that we can in the final points standings.”

The Mississippi native didn’t log his first Top-10 result of the year until finishing 10th in the regular season finale at Richmond in September. However, he managed to get through without suffering a DNF, netting an average finish of 18.9 en route to a 19th-place showing in the standings.

By contrast, Stenhouse’s Rookie of the Year rival and girlfriend, Danica Patrick, had what one would charitably call a “character-building” debut year in Cup.

After finishing eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500, the former IndyCar star was unable to turn in another Top-10 finish for the remainder of the schedule. Poor qualifying (average start: 30.1) didn’t help matters and on race day, it wasn’t much better for Patrick, who had an average finish of 26.1. Additionally, she had five DNFs.

For his part, Stenhouse said that he and Patrick didn’t particularly focus on their rookie battle outside of a light bit of joking over the situation. He also maintained that both of them learned a lot as Cup freshmen.

“We both wanted to just finish as best we could each and every week,” he said. “Then ultimately, in the final points standings of the whole field, I was shooting for a Top-15 [finish] – didn’t quite get that.

“But all in all, I think we both had decent years…We both have a lot to work on throughout the off-season and through next year.”

In that regard, Stenhouse said he needed to improve on learning the right adjustments to make during practice in preparation for the races.

“We still struggled with that a little bit,” he said. “But then again, I know that’s what we need to work on. We got our qualifying efforts better. We start the race a lot better; we just have to finish it off.

“Next year, that’s the biggest thing, just finishing the races kind of where we start them.”

Stenhouse’s best result this year was a third-place effort at Talladega last month.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR AMERICA: NASCAR returns to Indianapolis

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:09 PM EDT

    (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR AMERICA, Jeff Burton joined the crew to discuss what makes racing in the Brickyard 400 unique. Burton says NASCAR is a guest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to the history IndyCar has made at the track.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: Sam Hornish Jr. explains what it takes to win at the Brickyard

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:04 PM EDT

    (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images) Getty Images

    On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR AMERICA and in preparation for this week’s Brickyard 400, Leigh Diffey talked with 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. on what it was like to win the third closest finish in race history. Hornish also discussed some of the keys that drivers will need to succeed at the Brickyard 400.

  3. Tony Stewart: ‘Definitely feasible’ to have Sprint Cup, Nationwide race at Eldora

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:52 PM EDT

    (Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After two years of huge success with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing at his Eldora Speedway, Tony Stewart would love to eventually see the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series come to his little half-mile track, as well.

  4. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Eldora highlights, Brickyard surprises and history

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    140724-nascar-america

    On Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA, Leigh Diffey is the in-studio host and is joined by Sam Hornish Jr. (2006 Indy 500 winner and current Nationwide Series driver and winner of the 2014 Iowa Nationwide race).

  5. Paul Menard offers ride-alongs for Make-A-Wish/Indy Racing Experience this week

    Jul 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Indy Racing Experience has partnered with Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to enhance two wishes during the Kroger Brickyard Super Weekend that takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 24-27, 2014.

  6. IndyCar: RHR earns second quarter Driver of the Year award

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    Ryan Hunter-Reay earns another award after his Indianapolis 500 win.

  7. Button pleased with McLaren progress; no word on 2015

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren driver no closer to deciding his future, but is happy with how things are going in recent weeks.

  8. PWC: Cindric, Bove to race for charity at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    SOWF

    Pirelli World Challenge President/CEO Scott Bove and 15-year-old rising star Austin Cindric to race a GTS Ford Mustang Boss for charity at Mid-Ohio weekend.

  9. Sutil feeling confident about Hungary and his F1 future

    Jul 24, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    Sauber driver pleased with his pace in Germany, and cares little for the question marks about his future.

  10. Pirelli confirms tire allocations up to Singapore

    Jul 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Previews Getty Images

    Italian tire supplier confirms its selections for the Belgian, Italian and Singapore Grands Prix.

  11. Report: Deal for Marcos Ambrose’ return to Australia to race V8 Supercars for Roger Penske may be close

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT

    (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

    While it’s seemed Marcos Ambrose was a lock to return to Richard Petty Motorsports, especially with all the positive things he’s said about wanting to stay in recent weeks and months, a report Thursday has Ambrose leaving NASCAR after this season and returning to his native Australia to race V8 Supercars — potentially for a new team owned by iconic American race team owner Roger Penske.

  12. Alonso: Raikkonen having the same difficulties as me

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Canadian F1 Grand Prix Getty Images

    Ferrari driver has few qualms about Kimi’s difficulties in 2014.

  13. Former Brickyard 400 winner Bobby Labonte to compete in Sunday’s race for Tommy Baldwin Racing

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

    bobby labonte Getty Images

    Former Brickyard 400 winner Bobby Labonte will be returning to race at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this Sunday’s 21st running of the Brickyard.

  14. MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Hungarian GP

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    Our writing team makes its predictions for this weekend’s race at the Hungaroring.

  15. Alexander Rossi joins Marussia as reserve driver

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

    © Marussia F1 Team © Marussia F1 Team

    American youngster joins Marussia as its official reserve driver with immediate effect.

  16. Massa still adamant that Germany crash was not his fault

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Race Getty Images

    Brazilian driver compares it to incident at the beginning of the Australian Grand Prix with Kamui Kobayashi.

  17. Bernie Ecclestone confirms Mexican GP for 2015

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    Formula 1 will return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez next year for the first time since 1992.

  18. 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    One final chapter to the first half of the 2014 F1 season at the Hungaroring this weekend, a track that has suited Lewis Hamilton very well over the years.

  19. IndyCar: Nearly the entire field set for Mid-Ohio test today

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 At Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    Six teams, 17 cars set to test at Mid-Ohio ahead of IndyCar race there next week.

  20. Bubba Wallace dominates to win MudSummer Classic at Eldora (updated)

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Darrell Wallace Jr. AP

    Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and Kyle Larson put on a spectacular battle in the final 40-lap segment of Wednesday’s second MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, but it was Wallace holding on for the win.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Brickyard 400 is 'a big deal'

Featured video

Inside scoop with Adrian Sutil
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. T. Stewart (818)
  2. K. Kahne (817)
  3. J. Gordon (675)
  4. B. Scott (610)
  5. E. Jones (606)